Brazil’s Bolsonaro challenges election loss, files petition demanding votes annulled

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Outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has filed a petition with Brazilian electoral authorities formally contesting the results of this year’s hotly contested presidential vote.

Bolsonaro narrowly lost a second vote last month to a leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvapopularly known as “Lula” who is to be installed as president on January 1st.

Since then, Bolsonaro has stopped short of admitting he lost, but has previously said he would “continue to fulfill all the mandates of the constitution” – leading observers to believe he would cooperate with the transfer of power.

But in the petition filed on Tuesday, Bolsonaro and the leader of his right-wing Liberal Party claim that some voting machines were broken and that any votes cast through them should be annulled.

Citing analysis conducted by a firm hired by Bolsonaro’s party, the complaint claims that removing those votes would give Bolsonaro victory.

In response to Bolsonaro’s petition, election officials said that since the same voting machines were used in the first round, Bolsonaro and his party must amend their complaint to include those results for the process to make its way through the courts, affiliate CNN Brazil reported.

Alexandre Moraes, chief judge of the highest electoral court, gave Bolsonaro and his petitioners 24 hours to change their submissions.

But on Wednesday, Bolsonaro’s liberal party responded, requesting that the scope remain limited to the second round of voting.

Liberal officials also held a press conference where they doubled down on claims that some ballots used in the second round of elections could be subject to errors, but insisted they did not aim to dispute the results.

“We have no intention of preventing anyone from taking office, just that they follow the law. If there are indications [of error]this vote cannot be taken into account,” said Venstre’s chairman Valdemar Costa Neto.

“We are not asking for a new election, that would be crazy,” he added.

Last month’s heated election came amid a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil, which has struggled with high inflation, limited growth and rising poverty.

Lula da Silva received more than 60 million votes – according to the electoral authority’s final tally – the most in Brazilian history, breaking his own record from 2006.

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